Tim Pawlenty’s One-Man Tea Party

May 29, 2009 at 10:14 am (By Amba) (, , , , )

Talk about bucking a trend:  In a state with a high sense of entitlement to entitlements, and a liberal legislature poised to jack up taxes to keep the goodies flowing, a lone Republican governor has declared an executive High Noon.

This is the debut scoop reported by my friend of over 40 years, the Prairie Editor, Barry Casselman, a conservative-centrist independent journalist, former columnist for the Washington Times, as well as a poet, playwright, and food reviewer, who has finally, finally, FINALLY (after much nagging from me and others) put up a website and blog.  Barry broke the news of Pawlenty’s groundbreaking coup a couple of weeks before the national media noticed it:

DFL [Democratic-Farmer-Labor] legislative leaders argued over how large the tax increases would be, and who would pay for them. It was expected that most of the taxes would fall on those with highest incomes and on businesses. But the DFL legislature (in its hubris?) went a further step, and decided it would propose tax increases across the board. Pawlenty vowed none of them would get past his desk. Probably short of enough votes to override most of his vetoes, DFLers angled for an end-of-session showdown, assuming Pawently would have to compromise on the tax issue to avoid another very unpopular special session. […]

Then Pawlenty dropped a political bombshell.

Invoking his constitutional powers, Pawlenty said there would be no new taxes and no special session, If the DFL did not cut spending to his liking, he would use his power of line item veto and the little used executive right of “unallotment” to balance the budget unilaterally. The legislature, if this happened, would not be able to override the governor, and his new budget would automatically take effect. […]

On Monday night at midnight, the current session ended. The DFL majorities defiantly passed legislation to balance the budget by raising significant new taxes. The governor then stated he would veto the legislation and keep his promise to balance the budget himself, and not call a special session.

The dimensions of Pawlenty’s action are not yet visible, but it is a rare and potentially huge victory for those who want reduce the size, influence and financial cost of government.

It’s a pleasure to be able to announce the online debut of BarryCasselman.com with such an important and heartening story.  Read the whole thing.

Barry’s editorial archives — a strong body of centrist coverage and commentary — and some of his current writings are available on a subscription basis (his coverage of the 2008 elections can be sampled at the Washington Times archives; particularly prescient are  “Buyer’s Remorse About Obama?” and “Newt and the ‘Pygmies’“), while the blog, to be called Prairie Editor, will be front-page as soon as they learn how to ride WordPress.  Design and format are still in beta; grant patience to us lifelong Gutenbergistas.  The three categories are “Food,” “Poetry,” and “Politics;” other possible topics range from national and local history (Barry talks Lincoln with Newt and shares an Erie, PA background and friendship with Tom Ridge) to music and Spanish poetry and philosophy.  (Hey, we need a blogroll here at Ambiance; officially open for nominations from blogmates and commenters.)

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